Ama Dablam, Winter K2 Preparations

More climbers are signing on to winter K2, beyond the 30 clients and Sherpas already listed last Friday. These include Arnold Coster (born in the Netherlands but now living in Nepal), who has recently served as a climbing guide for Seven Summit Treks. He helped lead Bahrain’s Royal Guard on Manaslu last month.

Also on board is Italy’s Mattia Conte, one of Sergi Mingote’s regular climbing partners. Conte, who usually climbs without O2, summited Manaslu and GII with Mingote and attempted Dhaulagiri in fall 2019.

Seven Summit Treks’ preparations are well underway, since porters must carry the gear and supplies to Base Camp before winter hits. They are currently near Askoli and will continue toward K2 Base Camp tomorrow.

Ama Dablam Base Camp 2020. Photo: Seven Summit Treks


At the same time, this commercial expedition to winter K2 remains controversial, because of its heavy reliance on O2 and rope-fixing and the different skill levels of its participants. However, when Gazzeta Dello Sport recently asked the usually forthright Denis Urubko for his opinion, he demurred. “There are several ways to climb 8,000’ers,” he said. “If [SST] manages to summit winter K2, that’s perfectly all right with me.”

In Nepal, the government is preparing the latest (but surely not the last) set of health protocols for international tourists. Open borders for trekkers and climbers theoretically began on October 17, but the reinforcement of those measures has been inconsistent. Some groups had to quarantine in Kathmandu for an entire week. Despite the delays, some have already reached Ama Dablam Base Camp.
Unfortunately, it’s too late for guided 8,000m peaks, and there is no news of any independent teams heading high this late in the season, either. Instead, most are cautiously looking ahead to spring 2021. The recent Manaslu summiters from Bahrain have already announced their ambitions for Everest next May. Many more are laying in tentative plans, pending an improvement in the COVID-19 situation. The China-Tibet Mountaineering Association also stated recently that climbing Everest North Side will be “back to normal” next year, according to Everest blogger Alan Arnette.
Meanwhile, half a world away in South America, we are still waiting for news from Patagonia, but the Aconcagua season has definitely been cancelled.